Why are my clients always wasting their money on me?
Posted on August 29, 2011
Update 2011/08/31: I’ve had a lot of response from other freelancers with similar experiences. They suggested a few extra issues which have been added below. Thanks.
As a freelancer / contractor, I startup on new projects or new clients every 6 months or so. I usually get the job through an agent after an interview with the client. During the interview, i try to figure out what the project is about and how the project team is organized, but often the interview is half an hour or less which can make it hard to get all the details nailed down.
Before i actually start, i try to prepare as much as possible, by googling the company, looking at past projects if any is avaliable etc.
But recently i concluded that the preparation is mostly waste… Because my clients doesn’t make the same effort to prepare for my arrival. I usually meet up to find that a development environment is missing, the team don’t know where the latest version of requirements is located etc. I usually spend the first week either waiting for people to get me ready or to find the people who knows the procedures of the company. If only the clients preparred, i could be productive much faster => make myself worth the money they pay much faster.
I’ve made a list of things that should be ready for the contractor (or any other new people on a project – either new employees or existing employess who is transferred to a project.
- Pc. The hardware must be ready. If it takes time to be preparred by internal it, order the machine to be ready a week before the contractor arrives and test it before. That gives time to fix any issues.
- Table and chair. Dont start the first day with rearranging people to make space or clear a corner of one of the other consultant desks. A consultant is no different from other employees. Productivity increases in a clean and tidy environment. And make sure the desk is close to the rest of the development team.
- Make sure the user account is up and running. Both normal user accounts with e-mail access etc, and special dev accounts if needed.
- Make sure remote access is configured and any security tokens are ready
- Have a physical access card ready or make an appointment with a photographer if a photo is required on the access card.
- Make a list of people related to the project. Ensure name, email and phone number. If pictures are available, include it. There is a lot of new faces to remember on any new project. Even better: send the list by e-mail with vcf cards attached. That makes it easy to transfer the contacts to my personal phone, which i will usually use.
- Make sure that every team member has shared his / her calendar.
- Have a manual for time registration ready.
- E-mail with links to
- Architecture and design documentation
- Development standards
- Decision logs
- Make sure a few workpackages are ready and assigned and make sure an existing team member is assigned to do pair development the first few days. The pair development makes it much faster to grasp the idea of the design and the toughts behind the code. Its also a good way to make some social engineering with the existing team – which is a huge benefit for both client and contractor.
All items above must be fixed sooner or later. A late fix is an expensive fix. If the fix is made early, it can be planned and carried out by a way person way cheaper than a consultant , e.g. a project secretary.
So please prepare and let me do what you pay me to do.